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BS 6231:2006

Incorporating
Corrigendum No. 1

BRITISH STANDARD

Electric cables
Single core PVC
insulated flexible cables
of rated voltage 600/
1000 V for switchgear
and controlgear wiring
ICS 29.060.20

NO COPYING WITHOUT BSI PERMISSION EXCEPT AS PERMITTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW

BS 6231:2006
Publishing and copyright information
The BSI copyright notice displayed in this document indicates when the
document was last issued.
BSI 2006
ISBN 0 580 48589 7
The following BSI references relate to the work on this standard:
Committee reference GEL/20/17
Draft for comment 05/30138592 DC

Publication history
First published, as BS 1231, July 1945
Second edition, November 1958
Third edition, February 1963
Fourth edition, as BS 6231, August 1969
Fifth edition, May 1978
Sixth edition, December 1981
Seventh edition, October 1990
Eighth edition, August 1998
Ninth edition, July 2006

Amendments issued since publication


Amd. no.

Date

Text affected

16677

September 2006

Change reference to 8.1 in 10.4 and


Table A.1, change temperature to
90 C in Table 2

Corrigendum No. 1

BS 6231:2006

Contents
Foreword ii
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11

Scope 1
Normative references 1
Terms and definitions 1
Voltage designation 2
Conductors 2
Insulation 2
Identification 3
Cable marking 3
Routine tests for finished cables 4
Sample tests for finished cables 4
Type tests for finished cables 5

Annexes
Annex A (normative) Schedule of tests 8
Annex B (normative) Measurement of insulation thickness 9
Annex C (normative) Test conditions 9
Annex D (normative) Method of test for voltage withstand 9
Bibliography

10

List of tables
Table 1 PVC insulated flexible cable - Type BK
Table 2 PVC insulated flexible cable - Type CK
Table A.1 Schedule of tests 8

6
7

Summary of pages
This document comprises a front cover, an inside front cover, pages
i and ii, pages 1 to 10, an inside back cover and a back cover.
BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

Foreword
Publishing information
This British Standard was published by BSI and came into effect on
15 July 2006. It was prepared by Subcommittee GEL/20/17, Low voltage
cables, under the authority of Technical Committee GEL/20, Electric
cables.

Supersession
This British Standard supersedes BS 6231:1998, which is withdrawn.

Information about this document


This new edition of BS 6231 retains requirements in respect of cable
types BK and CK only. Requirements for other types have been
withdrawn as they are no longer considered to be market relevant.
The other principal changes introduced in this edition are to call up
CENELEC harmonized test methods in place of earlier national
methods.

Product certification/inspection/testing
Users of this British Standard are advised to consider the desirability of
third-party certification/inspection/testing of product conformity with
this British Standard. Users seeking assistance in identifying
appropriate conformity assessment bodies or schemes may ask BSI to
forward their enquiries to the relevant association.

WARNING. This British Standard calls for the use of procedures that
can be injurious to health if adequate precautions are not taken. It refers
only to technical suitability and does not absolve the user from legal
obligations relating to health and safety at any stage.

Presentational conventions
The provisions of this standard are presented in roman (i.e. upright)
type. Its requirements are presented in sentences in which the principal
auxiliary verb is shall.
Commentary, explanation and general informative material is
presented in smaller italic type, and does not constitute a normative
element.

Contractual and legal obligations


This publication does not purport to include all the necessary provisions
of a contract. Users are responsible for its correct application.

Compliance with a British Standard cannot confer


immunity from legal obligations.

ii BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

1 Scope
This British Standard specifies construction and performance
requirements, and gives methods of test, for single core, non-sheathed
electric cables of rated voltage 600/1000 V that have PVC insulation.
The types of cable specified in this standard are as follows:
Type BK - for a maximum conductor temperature of 70 C (see Table 1);
Type CK - for a maximum conductor temperature of 90 C (see Table 2).
These cables are intended for use in the wiring of switch, control,
metering, relay and instrument panels of power switchgear, and for such
purposes as internal connections in rectifier equipment and its motor
starters and controllers. They are intended for use at alternating
voltages not exceeding 600 V to earth, and direct voltages not exceeding
1000 V to earth. When installed in the equipment they are suitable for
wiring circuits for which the prescribed alternating test voltage does not
exceed 4 kV r.m.s. for 1 min.
A summary of the tests applicable to the cables is given in Annex A.

2 Normative references
The following referenced documents are indispensable for the
application of this document. For dated references, only the edition
cited applies. For undated references, the latest edition of the
referenced document (including any amendments) applies.

BS 4727-2: Group 08, Glossary of electrotechnical, power,


telecommunication, electronics, lighting and colour terms Part 2:
Terms particular to power engineering Group 08: Electric cables.
BS 5099, Electric cables Voltage levels for spark testing.
BS EN 50356, Method for spark testing of cables.
BS EN 50363-3, Insulating, sheathing and covering materials for low
voltage energy cables Part 3: PVC insulating compounds
BS EN 50395:2005, Electrical test methods for low voltage energy cables
BS EN 50396:2005, Non-electrical test methods for low voltage energy cables
BS EN 60228, Conductors of insulated cables
BS EN 60332-1-2, Tests on electric and optical fibre cables under fire
conditions Part 1-2: Test for vertical flame propagation for a single
insulated wire or cable Procedure for 1 kW pre-mixed flame
BS EN 60811-1-1, Insulating and sheathing materials of electric cables
Common test methods Part 1-1: General application
Measurement of thickness and overall dimensions Tests for
determining the mechanical properties.

3 Terms and definitions


For the purposes of this British Standard the definitions given in
BS 4727-2: Group 08 apply, together with the following.

3.1

rated voltage U
nominal power-frequency voltage between phase conductors for which
the cable is suitable

BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006
3.2

rated voltage U0
nominal power-frequency voltage between conductor(s) and earth for
which the cable is suitable

3.3

approximate value
value which is only indicative
NOTE In this standard, values described as approximate do not constitute
requirements to be checked by measurement.

3.4

nominal value
value by which a quantity is designated
NOTE Nominal values usually give rise to values to be checked by
measurements taking into account specified tolerances.

4 Voltage designation
Cables shall be designated by the rated voltages U0 and U, expressed in
the form U0/U.
NOTE The rated voltage recognized for the purpose of this British Standard
is 600/1000 V.

5 Conductors

The conductors shall conform to BS EN 60228, class 5. The insulated


conductors shall be circular, plain annealed copper.

6 Insulation
6.1

Types
The insulation shall be type TI 1 as specified in BS EN 50363-3 for cable
type BK, and type TI 3 as specified in BS EN 50363-3 for cable type CK.

6.2

Application
The insulation shall be applied closely to the conductor by the extrusion
process.
When the application is tested by removing the insulation from the
conductor, there shall be no damage to the insulation itself or the
conductor.

6.3

Thickness
The radial thickness of the insulation, when determined by taking the
average of a number of measurements in accordance with Annex B,
shall be not less than the appropriate value given in Table 1 or Table 2,
and the smallest of the measured values shall not fall below the value
given in Table 1 or Table 2 by more than 10 % + 0.1 mm.

2 BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

6.4

Spark test
When tested at the manufacturers works in accordance with
BS EN 50356, using either the a.c. or the d.c. method and the test
voltages specified in BS 5099, there shall be no breakdown of the
insulation.

7 Identification
All cables shall be identified by colour in accordance with Tables 1
and 2. The colour shall be either throughout the insulation or on its
external surface.
Where the bi-colour combination green-and-yellow is used, the
distribution of these colours shall be such that for every 15 mm length
of core, one of these colours shall cover at least 30 % and not more than
70 % of the surface of the core, while the other colour covers the
remainder of the surface.
Conformity shall be checked by measurement.
NOTE 1 In cases of dispute regarding the green-and-yellow combination
and where appropriate to the method of colour marking of the insulation, a
suitable test method for checking conformity is given in BS EN 50396:2005,
clause 5.2.
NOTE 2 Attention is drawn to the fact that, according to the use to which
cables are put, they could be subject to core colour requirements specified in
BS 7671, in other British Standards or in other standards, or in regulations
or statutory instruments.

NOTE 3 In accordance with BS EN 60446, the single colours green and


yellow are only permitted where a confusion with the colouring of the
protective conductor is not likely to occur.

The colour used for core identification shall be clearly identifiable.


When the core is lightly rubbed ten times with a piece of cotton wool
soaked in water, there shall be no degradation of the colour.

8 Cable marking
The cable shall be marked with the number of this British Standard, i.e.
BS 62311), on the outer surface by printing, indenting or embossing.
Type CK cables shall additionally be marked with the legend:
HEAT RESISTING 90
NOTE This additional marking may be combined with the marking of the
indication of origin.

All cables shall be provided with an indication of origin consisting of a


continuous marking of the manufacturers name or trademark.
The marking of the manufacturers name or trademark shall be by
printing, indenting or embossing on the sheath.

1)

Marking BS 6231 or BS 6231:2006 on or in relation to a product represents a


manufacturers declaration of conformity, i.e. a claim by or on behalf of the
manufacturer that the product meets the requirements of the standard. The
accuracy of the claim is solely the claimants responsibility. Such a declaration
is not to be confused with third-party certification of conformity.

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BS 6231:2006
Any marking shall be legible and regarded as continuous if the gap
between the end of one complete inscription and the beginning of the
next does not exceed 275 mm.
Any marking by printing shall be durable. Conformity shall be checked
by rubbing the marking lightly ten times with a piece of cotton wool or
cloth soaked in water.

9 Routine tests for finished cables


9.1

General
Routine tests shall be performed as identified in Table A.1.
NOTE 1 The schedule of tests given in Annex A shows the category of each
test parameter, and gives cross-references to the appropriate requirements
and test methods.
NOTE 2 Routine tests for components are covered in Clauses 5 to 7 and are
identified in Table A.1.

10 Sample tests for finished cables


10.1

General
Sample tests shall be performed as identified in Table A.1.

The tests specified in this clause shall be performed under the test
conditions specified in Annex C unless otherwise specified in the details
for the particular test.
NOTE 1 The schedule of tests given in Annex A shows the category of each
test parameter, and gives cross-references to the appropriate requirements
and test methods.
NOTE 2 Sample tests for components are covered in Clauses 5 to 7 and are
identified in Table A.1.

10.2

Conductor resistance
When measured in accordance with BS EN 60228 and corrected to
20 C, on a sample of cable not less than 1 m in length, the d.c. resistance
of each conductor shall conform to the requirements specified in
BS EN 60228.

10.3

Voltage withstand of completed cable


When a sample of completed cable is tested in accordance with
Annex D, no breakdown of the insulation shall occur.

10.4

Insulation resistance
When the cable is tested in accordance with BS EN 50395:2005, 8.1, the
insulation resistance shall be not less than the minimum value specified
in the appropriate construction table.

4 BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

10.5

Mean overall dimensions


The mean overall diameter of the cable shall be within the limits
specified in the appropriate construction table.
Conformity shall be checked by the method described in BS EN 608111-1:1995, 8.3.
One sample of cable shall be taken from each of three places, separated
by at least 1 m.
For diameters not exceeding 25 mm, take the mean of six measurements
as the mean overall diameter.
For diameters exceeding 25 mm, take the mean of three measurements
as the mean overall diameter.
When embossing in accordance with Clause 8 is used, the points at
which measurements are made shall not coincide with the embossing.

10.6

Flame propagation on single cable


Cables shall be tested in accordance with BS EN 60332-1-2. The test
shall be carried out on a sample of completed cable. After the test, the
cable shall conform to the performance criteria recommended in
BS EN 60332-1-2:2004, Annex A.

11 Type tests for finished cables


11.1

General

Type tests shall be performed as identified in Table A.1.

The tests specified in clauses shall be performed under the test


conditions specified in Annex C unless otherwise specified in the details
for the particular test.
NOTE 1 The schedule of tests given in Annex A shows the category of each
test parameter, and gives cross-references to the appropriate requirements
and test methods.
NOTE 2 Type tests for components are covered in Clauses 5 to 7 and are
identified in Table A.1.

11.2

Long-term resistance of PVC insulation to d.c.


When the cable is tested in accordance with BS EN 50395:2005,
Clause 9, the insulation shall meet the requirements given in that clause.

BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

Table 1

PVC insulated flexible cable Type BK

Construction:
Conductor: class 5 copper, plain annealed
Insulation: PVC type TI 1.
Colours for identification:
Single colours: Any colour is permitted subject to the notes in Clause 7
Bi-colour: Green-and-yellow (for earthing or similar protection, see Clause 7, notes 2 and 3)
Nominal crosssectional area of
conductor

Mean radial
thickness of
insulation

mm2

mm

Mean overall diameter

Lower limit
mm

Upper limit
mm

Minimum insulation
resistance at 70 C

Mkm

0.5

0.8

2.4

3.0

0.0161

0.75

0.8

2.6

3.1

0.0141

1.0

0.8

2.7

3.3

0.0128

1.5

0.8

3.0

3.6

0.0111

2.5

0.8

3.4

4.1

0.0094

0.8

3.9

4.8

0.0077

0.8

4.4

5.3

0.0059

10

1.0

5.7

7.2

0.0058

16

1.0

6.7

25

1.2

8.4

35

1.2

9.7

50

1.4

70

9.0

0.0048

11.5

0.0047

12.5

0.0040

11.5

15.4

0.0039

1.4

13.2

17.5

0.0033

95

1.6

15.1

19.2

0.0032

120

1.6

16.7

21.2

0.0029

150

1.8

18.6

23.9

0.0029

185

2.0

20.6

25.9

0.0029

240

2.2

23.5

28.9

0.0028

6 BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

Table 2

PVC insulated flexible cable Type CK

Construction:
Conductor: class 5 copper, plain annealed
Insulation: PVC type TI 3

Colours for identification:


Single colours: Any colour is permitted subject to the notes in Clause 7
Bi-colour: Green-and-yellow (for earthing or similar protection, see Clause 7, notes 2 and 3)
Nominal crosssectional area of
conductor

Mean radial
thickness of
insulation

mm2

mm

Mean overall diameter

Lower limit
mm

Upper limit
mm

Minimum insulation
resistance at 90 C

Mkm

0.5

0.8

2.4

3.0

0.0161

0.75

0.8

2.6

3.1

0.0141

1.0

0.8

2.7

3.3

0.0128

1.5

0.8

3.0

3.6

0.0111

2.5

0.8

3.4

4.1

0.0094

0.8

3.9

4.8

0.0077

0.8

4.4

5.3

0.0059

10

1.0

5.7

7.2

0.0058

16

1.0

6.7

9.0

0.0048

25

1.2

8.4

11.5

0.0047

35

1.2

9.7

12.5

0.0040

50

1.4

11.5

15.4

0.0039

70

1.4

13.2

17.5

0.0033

95

1.6

15.1

19.2

0.0032

120

1.6

16.7

21.2

0.0029

150

1.8

18.6

23.9

0.0029

185

2.0

20.6

25.9

0.0029

240

2.2

23.5

28.9

0.0028

BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

Annex A (normative)

Schedule of tests
Table A.1 lists the range of tests applicable to the cables covered by this
British Standard and gives cross-references to the requirements and test
methods. The last column shows the category of each test, i.e. T, S or R.
The categories and corresponding designations, as defined in IEC/
CENELEC standards for cables, are as follows.
a)

Type tests (T): tests required to be made before supplying, on a general


commercial basis, a type of cable covered by this British Standard, in
order to demonstrate satisfactory performance characteristics to meet the
intended application. These tests are of such a nature that after they have
been made, they need not be repeated unless changes are made in the
cable material, design or type of manufacturing process which might
change the performance characteristics.

b)

Sample tests (S): tests made on samples of completed cable, or


components taken from a completed cable, adequate to verify that the
product meets the design requirements.

c)

Routine test (R): tests made on all production cable lengths to


demonstrate their integrity.

Table A.1
Parameter

Schedule of tests
Requirement
given in clause:

Test method

Test
category

BS EN 60228

BS EN 50363-3

Visual examination and manual


test

Tests on components
Conductor construction
Insulation:

type

6.1

application

6.2

thickness

6.3

Annex B and BS EN 60811

spark test

6.4

BS EN 50356 and BS 5099

Visual examination and manual


test

Cable marking

Visual examination and


measurement

Durability of marking

Manual test

Conductor resistance

10.2

BS EN 60228

Voltage withstand of completed cable

10.3

Annex D

Insulation resistance
- at 70 C (BK types)
- at 90 C (CK types)

10.4

BS EN 50395:2005, 8.2

Long term resistance to d.c.

11.2

BS EN 50395:2005, 9

Mean overall diameter

10.5

BS EN 60811-1-1:1995, 8.1

10.6

BS EN 60332-1-2

Cores:
identification and durability of colour
Tests on completed cables

Performance under fire conditions:


flame propagation on single cable
NOTE 1
NOTE 2

Tests classified as sample (S) and routine (R) may be required as part of a type approval scheme.
The order of the tests in this schedule does not imply a sequence of testing.

8 BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

Annex B (normative)
B.1

Measurement of insulation thickness


Sampling
The measurement of thickness of insulation shall be made on samples
of cable taken from three different places, separated by at least 1 m.

B.2

Procedure
The measurement shall be made in accordance with BS EN 60811-1-1.
Six thickness measurements shall be made on each sample

B.3

Expression of results
The average of all the 18 values obtained shall be calculated to two
decimal places and then rounded to obtain the mean value for the
insulation thickness. Round the calculated mean value to one decimal
place, 0.05 being rounded upwards.
The smallest of all the values obtained shall be taken as the minimum
thickness at any place.

Annex C (normative)

Test conditions
WARNING. This British Standard calls for the use of procedures that
can be injurious to health if adequate precautions are not taken. It refers
only to technical suitability and does not absolve the user from legal
obligations relating to health and safety at any stage.

C.1

Ambient temperature

Tests shall be made at an ambient temperature of (20 10) C unless


otherwise specified in the details for the particular test.

C.2

Frequency and waveform of power frequency


test voltages
Unless otherwise specified in the particular test, the frequency of the
alternating test voltages shall be in the range 49 Hz to 61 Hz. The
waveform shall be substantially sinusoidal. The ratio peak value/r.m.s.
value shall be equal to 2 with a tolerance of 7%.

Annex D (normative)

Method of test for voltage withstand


Immerse a sample of completed cable, between 10 m and 20 m long, in
water at a temperature of (20 5) C for a period of not less than 1 h.
Earth the water.
With the cable still immersed apply a test voltage between the
conductor and the water. Raise the test voltage gradually to 3 500 V a.c.
and maintain it at that value for 5 min.

BSI 2006

BS 6231:2006

Bibliography
BS 7671:1992, Requirements for Electrical Installations. IEE Wiring
Regulations. Sixteenth edition.
BS EN 60446, Basic and safety principles for the man-machine
interface, marking and identification. Identification of conductors
by colours or numerals.

10 BSI 2006

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BS 6231:2006

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